When I found myself pregnant after our third miscarriage, I went into it fully expecting a fourth miscarriage. We’d had all the testing done and everything was normal. There was no obvious medical reason I kept miscarrying. However, I never for a second thought that this pregnancy would work. Imagine my surprise when it did.
It wasn’t an easy pregnancy. Not because of the hyperemesis, a possible hiatal hernia, gestational diabetes and shingles. Not because I was a walking Physician’s Desk Reference of symptoms and ailments. Not because of all the appointments, ultrasounds, NST’s that go with having a high risk pregnancy. Not even the fact that it was labeled as “high risk.” It wasn’t an easy pregnancy because I was terrified.
I knew, now, how many ways a pregnancy can go wrong. Because when people open up to you about their miscarriages, suddenly there are additional stories of friends, of cousins, of coworkers that lost their baby at twenty weeks, twenty six weeks, thirty seven. I now knew that my early term losses weren't as bad as it could be.
I made it through the first trimester by trying to forget that I was even pregnant. Even after two good ultrasounds in a row (we’d never had two in a row with heartbeats), I felt no relief. Into the second trimester, there was a long period of time when I would have no ultrasounds or even appointments for over a month. How would I know what was going on in there? How would I know my baby was still alive? I bought a fetal Doppler to listen to the baby’s heartbeat and that got me through until I could feel him move. Once I started feeling him, one would think that it would be easier but one would be incorrect. Because babies go to sleep in there for long periods of time and after a few hours of no movement, I would have to poke him or drink a sweet, cold drink or as a last resort break out the old Doppler and listen to the heartbeat. Even as late as the third trimester I would lie in bed waiting for movement before I’d get up in the morning, and think about how many times I’d felt him throughout the day. I can honestly say that I never fully relaxed through my entire pregnancy.
Even when I went into labor, I wasn’t worry-free because of all of the complications that could possibly arise during the act of labor (also who relaxes while they’re in labor? It freaking hurts). I didn’t relax until the doctor said, “He’s out!” and I saw my little baby, the color of Eyore, with his ten toes splayed out like a startled cat, screaming his head off being lifted onto my chest. Then I relaxed.
Of course, then began a whole new world of worry… But that’s for another time.